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MBI, Venture Forum Launch Spark Mentorship to Support Life Science Entrepreneurs

February 5, 2024 / press release

Worcester, MA (Feb. 5, 2024)Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI), the longest-running nonprofit life science startup incubator in the Commonwealth, and Venture Forum, an inclusive startup community committed to helping entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses in central Massachusetts, today announced the opening of their joint Spark mentorship program. This free program will support early-stage life science entrepreneurs developing innovative breakthrough science and technologies and prepare later-stage companies to successfully raise capital.


“At MBI, collaboration is in our DNA, and we’re thrilled to partner with Venture Forum on this mentorship program to boost the life science industry in central Massachusetts,” said Jon Weaver, President & CEO of MBI. “Spark combines the unique expertise of our organizations — MBI’s deep experience in helping biotech companies advance their products and Venture Forum’s work to inspire and accelerate the growth of local startups — to bring out the best of what we have to offer in Worcester.”


The Spark mentorship program will be divided into two phases. The first stage, encompassing eight weeks, will consist of mentorship for early-stage companies that need guidance on specific issues. The cohort will be open to up to a maximum of four companies, which will be matched with up to three mentors depending on their needs. Topics will include intellectual property, preclinical and clinical planning, grant funding, strategy and more.


“Our vision at Venture Forum is that Worcester will be among the next generation of globally

competitive startup hubs where entrepreneurs can access mentorship, capital, and talent at every stage of entrepreneurial growth. Spark is a key component of reaching that ambition,” said Zachary Dutton, Executive Director of Venture Forum. “We look forward to partnering with MBI on this initiative and discovering the many ways we can support Worcester’s startup community — together.”


Spark Mentorship is made possible thanks to a $50,000 award from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which recognized MBI and Venture Forum as Stage Two winners for the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. MBI and Venture Forum are currently recruiting entrepreneurs and mentors to join the program; to apply to Spark or volunteer as a mentor, visit




About Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives

MBI’s mission is to be a partner for fostering innovation in the life sciences and growing the regional biocluster by helping companies bring lifesaving products to patients, leading regional workforce development efforts, and through economic development advocacy. It is estimated that since 2000, MBI has assisted over 188 companies that have created over 1,800 jobs and raised over $1,900,000,000.


About Venture Forum

Venture Forum is a startup community sparking economic growth and job creation by helping entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses in Central Massachusetts. The organization promotes a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation through impactful, inclusive mentorship and programming.



Kelsey Abbruzzese, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives

[email protected]



Lisa Lazarczyk, LAZ PR for Venture Forum

[email protected]


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